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Last time there was a sweep in NBA Finals: Boston Celtics could become 10th team to win title going 4-0

Written by on June 14, 2024

The Boston Celtics are on the verge of a sweep against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals. This would put the Celtics on an elite list, as only nine other teams have lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy after going 4-0 in a best-of-seven championship series. 

Coincidentally, the Celtics were the first franchise to do it in 1959. Sixty-five years ago, the Celtics swept the then-Minneapolis Lakers, the team they are currently tied with for most NBA trophies — 17. The 1959 trophy was their second ever and the first of eight consecutive titles. The Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles before the 1960-61 season.

After Wednesday’s game, the Mavs find themselves in an extremely difficult situation. Meanwhile, history is on the Celtics’ side: Teams leading 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series are 156-0 all-time in the NBA.

Boston has only lost two games in these playoffs so far, and the team entered the Finals with plenty of rest after sweeping the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics — who haven’t lost since May 9 — have had to play the majority of the playoffs without Kristaps Porzingis due to injury. However, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown showed they could handle Dallas without him as they went for a combined 61 points on Wednesday in Game 3. The Mavs were very competitive but struggled to close out the game after Doncic fouled out with about four minutes remaining.

And just like that, the Celtics are potentially 48 minutes away from a sweep and their 18th championship in franchise history.  However, 4-0 is not something easy to achieve and the teams who have done it have needed a lot more than just a little luck. The Celtics roster that did it in 1959 had five Hall of Famers: Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey. 

The last time a sweep happened in the Finals was six years ago when the Golden State Warriors were the hottest team in the league and put away the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. The Warriors pulled it off with a roster that had Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green playing at the top of their game. That 2018 title was their third in a four-year period. 

The second-most recent team to go 4-0 in the Finals was Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs. They earned their 2007 title by sweeping the Cavs. That was their second title in a three-year period, and that team boasted Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili and Tony Parker. 

And in 2002? That was the Lakers’ third consecutive title and they pulled off the sweep against the Brooklyn Nets with the help of the star duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Below is a full list of every team that has pulled off a Finals sweep.

Sweeps in NBA Finals History

  • 2018 — Warriors over Cavaliers
  • 2007 — Spurs over Cavaliers
  • 2002 — Lakers over Nets
  • 1995 — Rockets over Magic
  • 1989 — Pistons over Lakers
  • 1983 — 76ers over Lakers
  • 1975 — Warriors over Bullets
  • 1971 — Bucks over Bullets
  • 1959 — Celtics over Lakers

The post Last time there was a sweep in NBA Finals: Boston Celtics could become 10th team to win title going 4-0 first appeared on CBS Sports.

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